Office of the Provost

Dear Graduate and Professional Students,

I hope that you had a peaceful and rejuvenating winter break. I would like to extend a warm welcome to graduate and professional students who are beginning their programs at the University of Pittsburgh in spring 2021.

As we look ahead to the start of the spring term on January 19, the University of Pittsburgh will continue operating in much the same way as we did in fall 2020. We will continue to follow the guidance of the University’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO) and to use the Flex@Pitt hybrid model for classes. You can stay informed with the latest news by visiting the “Power of Pitt” website. Details about the spring academic calendar can be found here.

I would like to highlight a few recent announcements and reminders:

On Wednesday, January 13, the CMRO provided guidance that all students who are traveling to our campus communities or nearby residences to plan to arrive beginning January 29. This communication includes details about pre- and post-travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing requirements, and shelter-in-place guidance. Pitt will provide one COVID-19 test through Quest for all students returning to our campus communities in order to maximize a safe return. Students should register for the test to be delivered to their current location as soon as possible.

UPMC will start vaccinating a limited number of Pitt Health Sciences students each week soon, with prioritization given to students who are doing rotations in the highest-risk, patient-facing settings. Given that COVID-19 vaccine supplies are limited, this process will take time. Once identified, students can expect to receive an email, via their Pitt email account, informing them of their vaccination appointment details. Pitt is also actively engaged in securing approval for COVID-19 vaccinations for our students, faculty and staff.

If you have a graduate student appointment for the spring term, please talk with your faculty member or advisor as soon as possible about expectations for your appointment during the term. Teaching assistants (TAs) and teaching fellows (TFs) will continue to have the choice to teach in person or remotely.

To provide scheduled breaks this semester, two student self-care days, on which there are no classes, are scheduled for February 23 and March 24. Note that some graduate and professional programs, particularly those with required clinical experiences, may observe different self-care dates; please check with your program for details.

For graduate student parents, Pitt’s Office of Human Resources, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, is now offering an in-person program that provides proctoring and support for children in grades 1 through 6 who are currently enrolled in online schooling. See more details below.

As always, any questions or concerns about COVID-19 can be shared with your associate dean for graduate studies, school ombudsperson, or with our Graduate Studies team via email. You may also report concerns anonymously using Pitt's COVID Concern Connection. The Graduate Studies team has created a special webpage with resources for graduate and professional students and postdocs during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions or suggestions related to graduate studies or the spring term, my next monthly office hour is on Friday, January 22 from 1-2 p.m. EST. I look forward to talking with you.

Keep your eyes out for more opportunities for graduate and professional students to network and connect remotely this spring. Below we’ve listed upcoming events, including ways to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 18.

As always, I wish you a successful, safe and productive term!


Amanda J. Godley
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies

Graduate Resources
Graduate News, Policies, and Events

University-wide News and Resources

Pitt’s Office of Human Resources has teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University to offer a Temporary Family Care Proctoring Service for children in grades 1 through 6 who are currently enrolled in online schooling. The program begins Tuesday, January 19, 2021, and runs Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per hour. Capacity is limited and approval will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meal Scholarship Program: This program from the Campus Basic Needs Committee provides an additional short-term food resource for students facing food insecurity caused by an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances. Apply using this form.

The Student Emergency Assistance Fund is available to students who may be undergoing financial hardship due to unanticipated expenses or emergency situations.

Wellness Corner

Graduate and professional students often face the challenge of balancing school, work, family and self-care—a balance that has likely been made more difficult over the past year. Many students find support in connecting with others who understand these unique challenges. The University Counseling Center (UCC) offers a number of counseling groups that provide a safe and confidential space for graduate and professional students to share and connect. Learn more about group counseling at the UCC. Graduate and professional student groups meet every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the spring semester. If you are interested, call 412-648-7930.

Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) offers a private library of interactive programs to help gain knowledge and awareness for self-help and wellness. TAO can be completed at your own pace.

The Stress Free Zone (SFZ) offers space for students to learn and practice evidence-based, mind/body stress reduction skills through mindfulness meditation. Classes and workshops will continue operating remotely for spring 2021.

The Wellness Resources Guide provides a wealth of information on services and resources that go beyond academics.

Campus Engagement

Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG)
Graduate Student Organizations
Pan-African Graduate and Professional Student Association (PANAF)
Pitt Parents Yammer Group
Pitt Commons
University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association

We also encourage you follow us on Twitter and share your accomplishments and honors by tagging us at @PittGradStudies.

Upcoming Events

What Just Happened? Race, Justice, and Politics after the Capitol Siege, Monday, January 18, 2021, noon-1:30 p.m. EST
Join the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Center on Race and Social Problems for an MLK Day Responsive Forum. Panelists will discuss the current state of political affairs and their implications for the future of racial justice in the US. View details and register.

Celebrate with Service: MLK Day, Monday, January 18, 2021
The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is hosting a Book Drive for Diversity, a Family Forum on Equality and Kindness, and two virtual breakout sessions. View more details and register.

MLK Day Celebration, Living the Legacy, Monday, January 18, 3 p.m. EST
The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is hosting a virtual celebration to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pay what you can and stream the program live. View details and purchase tickets.

Personal Finance Seminar: Planning for Today and Tomorrow, Thursday, January 21, 3-5 p.m. EST
Targeted specifically for graduate students, medical students and postdocs, professionals from the banking industry will provide guidance on how to develop a personal budget, build cash reserves, identify needs versus wants, raise credit rating, and more.

Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Students: A Resource Fair, Thursday, January 21, 2021, noon-1:30 p.m. EST
At this virtual resource fair, students will be provided with the opportunity to talk with faculty, staff and students about University resources, including preferred/chosen name initiatives, student organizations, campus facilities and much more. This event is sponsored by the University’s Transgender Working Group.

International Place-Based University Network: Academically Based, Globally Minded Community Engagement, Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, 2021
As one of the signature events for the Year of Engagement at Pitt, Newcastle University and the University of Pittsburgh are hosting a two-day virtual conference on the role universities play in building sustainable, just, and inclusive cities. View the January 21 schedule of events and the January 22 schedule of events. Register for the conference.

Introduction to Mentor Training, Friday, February 5, 2021, noon-2 p.m. EST

This session launches the spring sessions of the Mentoring Academy. The first of three, this session will provide an opportunity to discuss the different roles which mentors and mentees play and covers the first four competencies in the Mentoring Academy (Introduction, Communication, Aligning Expectations, and Assessing Understanding). Participants who successfully complete the series will earn a credential.

Translating Your Current Academic Skills to Future Careers, Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 3-5 p.m. EST
Targeted specifically for graduate students, medical students and postdocs, this webinar will discuss skills gained during academic training that are valued by both the public and private sectors for a variety of career options.

Improvisation for Mentoring Conversations, Thursday, February 11, 2021, noon-1:30 p.m. EST
Participants will be introduced to the principles of improvisation and practice using improv in everyday situations. Focus will be placed on building conversational and networking skills, particularly as they relate to initiating and cultivating mentoring relationships.